DEPSCoR Scours the U.S. for New Tech Innovations

Traditionally, Silicon Valley technology and the Department of Defense’s development efforts haven’t had much overlap. Aside from being on different coasts, the lack of a comprehensive public-private partnership meant that the DoD was sometimes “reinventing the wheel” when it came to creating efficient technology.

But with some of the world’s largest military powers, such as China and Russia, taking giant leaps on a regular basis, it’s become more important than ever for the U.S. government to take a deep dive into the latest and greatest technological innovations. Learn more about the Defense Established Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) program and how it’s poised to grow military technology.

What is DEPSCoR? 

For the 2019 fiscal year, DEPSCoR has gotten $12 million in government funding. With this support, DEPSCoR heads into traditionally underrepresented areas, especially the South and Midwest, to work with colleges and universities whose students are on the cutting edge of scientific and engineering research. By expanding the military’s collaborative research partnerships outside of tech havens like Seattle, Austin, and San Francisco, DEPSCoR ensures that no stone is left unturned when it comes to creating next-generation technology.

DEPSCoR’s specific objectives fall into three main categories. These include:

  1. Enhancing the capabilities of institutions of higher education, or IHE, to “develop, plan, and execute science and engineering research that is relevant” to the DoD’s mission;
  2. Increasing the number of university researcher positions to manage DEPSCoR projects and funding; and
  3. Increasing the competition for military tech and engineering contracts, many of which are currently snapped up by the same few mega tech companies.

Who is Eligible For DEPSCoR Funding?

For the 2019 fiscal year, 34 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are eligible to participate in DEPSCoR and receive DEPSCoR funding. As certain states boost their funding formulas, they may rotate off the DEPSCoR eligibility list to ensure that other states have a fairer chance at these funds.

DEPSCoR’s Plans for 2019

To further its three broad and ongoing goals, in 2019 DEPSCoR will increase the number of funds directed to qualifying colleges and universities, solicit program applications and make awards to the most meritorious or innovative, and conduct a number of national outreach programs to meet with key local and regional stakeholders. 

Approximately $8 million of DEPSCoR’s $12 million budget for 2019 will go directly to colleges and universities, while around $3.45 million will be focused on outreach and publicity efforts. As more federal funding is earmarked for this important program, and as more IHEs sign on, an even greater proportion of total budgeted funds can go straight to research.

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